Thursday, December 21, 2006

#75 The Fixer by Jon F. Merz

My Rating: 8 out of 10 stars

I really liked this book, and I'm quite surprised this series never garnered more interest. Probably bad promotion on the part of the publishers or something. The first two books in the series, The Fixer (this one) and The Invoker, both only published in 2002, are already out of print. I managed to procure this copy through my library's participation in the Merrimack Valley Consortium system, and it was only at one library of the 35 in the system.

It was only when Michele (caseyw) added a copy of The Invoker to the Paranormal Virtual Bookbox on BookRelay that I was first alerted to this author, and then a few of us got to discussing the Lawson Vampire Novels. She mentioned how she still hasn't been able to find a copy of this first book in the series, and the prices for the first two books on eBay are outrageous since they're out of print. I guess I was just lucky to find this one at the Lowell library via the Consortium website, but they don't have books 2, 3, or 4 unfortunately. So Mr. Merz, if you come across this review on the web, know that there are quite a few of us out here that'd like to see these first books in the series back in print, so push your publisher for us, will ya? ;-) I really think these books could make a bigger splash now, particularly since paranormals have become so hot, but also because, like Jim Butcher's Dresden series, these are more action-oriented than so many of the paranormal romances available now which are just like romance authors trying to throw in a vampire to make it a paranormal and it truly reminds me why I *don't* like romances!!

The author, Jon Merz, lives in Boston, somewhat near me, and is active on his Lawson Vampire MySpace account. He's written a sort of short story about Lawson that he published in his blog out there, but I've been leery to read it in case it would give away stuff I haven't yet read in books 2-4. As I was reading this book, I liked coming across the many Boston landmarks and I recognized most of the locations and nightclubs, particularly Manray, the Goth club in Cambridge, which was a favorite of mine. (Many good memories of that place, which shut down sometime last year.)

So anyway, back to the book itself...
Lawson is a Fixer, a Vampire whose job it is to help maintain the delicate balance between Vampire and Human. In his duties, he's often called upon by the Vampire Council to bring down one of his own, often a rogue vampire who has become a threat to the race, either by blatant human killings, or threatening to expose the race in other bad or illegal ways. In the world drawn by Mr. Merz, vampires live among us, just as they do in most fantasy and paranormal novels, and most of them live a normal life, passing for human. He debunks some of the myths, saying that although vampires aren't particularly fond of the sun, they don't have to avoid it, and they won't go up in flames by being exposed to it. Though the fact remains that most vamps are more comfortable in the darkness and at night. Also, like in other novels, these vamps are able to get by without killing and often with the assistance of bottled blood to help sustain them.

Lawson is now charged with the destroying his arch-nemesis, Cosgrove, who has been a thorn in his side his entire life. And yes, these Vampires grew up as Vampires, in a Vampire community, to Vampire parents, etc. So both Lawson and Cosgrove were Vamps when they were younger and actually grew up together, though they were enemies back then too.

The writing style is quick and snappy—no long drawn-out descriptions here—and it all adds to action-oriented feeling of the book. I had a tough time putting it down! I loved Lawson's character; though a vampire, the author adds just enough human characteristics and feeling to him to endear him to the reader. And it left me anxiously looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of The Invoker. Thanks to my BR pals for introducing me to this author in the first place!

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